O futuro que nós queremos?

22 June, Rio Centro

There has already been much comment on whether what still appears to be final agreed text from the Rio+20 really represents ‘O futuro que nós queremos’ (the future we want).

Some of us who followed the UN climate talks and COPs for a number of years started to develop a theory that locating the COP in a place with beaches and hot and sunny weather helped ensure a good outcome for the COP summit whereas if it was cold and dark much of the time the outcome was not so good to say the least. The theory seemed to hold with COP 14 Poznan (cold, mostly dark) in 2008 making almost no progress and leaving so much to be done in 2009, COP 15 Copenhagen (cold, mostly dark) in 2009 almost universally seen as a disaster in terms of the failure to agree a new international treaty on climate change, COP 16 Cancun (hot and very sunny, lots of beaches) in 2010 with an outcome cheered to the rafters by delegates in the final plenary with almost all countries agreeing a text – no mean feat after the fall-out from Copenhagen, and then most recently COP 17 in Durban (hot and very sunny, lots of beaches) where countries agreed to negotiate for a new climate deal by the end of 2015 to come into force by 2020 – only 8 years after the deadline we had for this in Copenhagen but hey!

So what do you get when you are in the most stunningly beautiful country and city famed for its beaches and sunshine even in mid-winter (as we are now)? Well, the final day of the summit dawned with pouring rain again here in Rio after a brief respite yesterday and you appear to get this – agreed by countries on Tuesday night and seemingly unchanged since – http://www.uncsd2012.org/thefuturewewant.html

And you get this excellent reaction from civil society given to the plenary on Wednesday by the Director of the Climate Action Network (CAN) International – http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/watch/representative-of-the-non-governmental-organizations-major-group-opening-of-the-conference-1st-plenary-meeting-rio20/1698993624001

And you get a fantastic inspiring speech to the plenary also on Wednesday from Brittany Trilford, a 17 year old from Canada – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=karQQb-B8Uk&feature=youtu.be

As with all international negotiations the political context for the discussions here at the Rio+20 summit was of enormous importance – with an ongoing economic crisis for many countries, a US election later in the year, and controversial forest code discussions here in Brazil – and the influence of all these and many more political factors can not be discounted. Nor can you underplay the importance of how well or not each summits’ hosts chair and steer and cajole countries with different priorities and red lines towards an agreed outcome. And the Rio+20 summit is also no different in that what happens after the summit in terms of national and regional implementation in the end becomes much more important than any agreed text – however strong or weak.

I have been inspired by the actions and thinking of Tearfund partners and others as part of Igrejas Ecocidadas here in Rio (a photo of just some of those involved in this movement is at the top of this post) – and less so by those of many of the governments and heads of state here… So if nothing else the Rio+20 summit should be a further call to mobilise and in everything we do to seek the future we want for the planet and its people.

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